The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Seeds and Varieties

Okra seedsLast year's garden was a big success, but we started running out of various frozen veggies around Christmas time, and I vowed to do better this year.  In some ways I did --- the freezer is packed and I think we may manage to make it all the way through until spring without buying fresh produce.  But I also made a rookie mistake, allowing the garden to expand beyond our ability to care for it.  In the process, I let some things slide, saving seeds being foremost among the slippage.

With the frost approaching, I set out to collect some okra seeds.  Of course, once I slit the drying pods open with my thumb and flipped out the textured seeds, I realized that I couldn't save okra this year after all --- I planted two varieties together and okra readily cross-pollinates.  Still, I managed to gain a few intriguing pictures out of the process, so overall it was a success.

Varieties we loved:
  • Beans, Masai --- delectable!
  • Okra, Clemson Spineless --- also delectable! 
  • Onion, Copra Hybrid --- started them from seed and got a great harvest!
  • Onion, Egyptian --- perennials make stunning green onions which even folks who don't like green onions adore
  • Pea, Eclipse --- makes delicious shelling peas and lots of them!  Vastly better than the Little Marvels we tried last year
  • Pea, Mammoth Melting Sugar --- delectable snow peas, and heirlooms so if I'd gotten my act together the way I did last year I could have saved the seeds....
  • Squash, Butternut --- we tried all of the winter squash varieties we could think of this year, and plain old butternut is the tastiest and the lowest maintenance
  • Strawberries, Honeoye --- Wow, wow, wow!!!!!!!

And were disappointed by:

  • Cabbage, Jung "Babies" mix -- the plain big green ones (Early Flat Dutch and Jersey Wakefield) were tastier, though these were cute
  • Garlic --- don't plant the bulbs out of the grocery store.  I'm here to tell you it doesn't work.
  • Lettuce, Batavia --- on the advice of Mother Earth News, we tried the red and the green Batavia lettuces in hopes of getting non-bolting summer lettuce.  And they didn't bolt, but they did get bitter fast and, lettuce snobs that we are, we didn't like them enough to eat.
  • Okra, Red Velvet --- I'm sure if we hadn't been spoiled by Clemson Spineless, this would have been fine...
  • Strawberries, Fresca --- you can start them from seed and they bear constantly all year, but they just aren't tasty.  I pulled them out.

Okra pods

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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